Testing Relatives of Type 1 Kids—Who Will Get Diabetes, and Who Won’t

Feb 1, 2000

The results of a UK-based study on immediate relatives of people with type 1 diabetes indicate that those who have only islet cell antibodies (ICA) are at lower risk for type 1. Those with more than one antibody or genetic marker, however, are more likely to develop the disease.

Although previous studies were of 5 years' duration or less, this one followed some subjects for up to 18 years.

A total of 4,423 first-degree relatives were recruited for the test. After testing, 147 were found to have high ICA levels of 20 JDF U (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation units) or more. Of the 147, 29 developed type 1 diabetes after a median of 3.2 years (the maximum was 18.1 years). The risk of developing type 1 within 15 years was only 2.8 percent for those with ICA alone. For relatives who tested positive for more than one autoantibody marker, the risk was 66 percent.

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